The recurrence of extreme weather events has led to the development of methods for assessing the vulnerability and interdependencies of physical and human systems. A case example is Hurricane Maria (H-Maria), where Puerto Rico experienced damage to 80% of its electrical power system, leading to massive disruptions of essential services for months. Here we evaluate the effectiveness of various interventions aimed at reducing vulnerability by considering power and water infrastructure and respective water–power dependencies while also considering the social vulnerability of affected communities associated with the physical infrastructure upgrades. On the basis of the current infrastructure configuration, we found that all communities suffered enormously from power and water outages. As one upgrade option, we show that incorporating regional energy grids would reduce outages in an H-Maria scenario. However, a large portion of disadvantaged communities will face service disruption under this option. In contrast, hardening transmission lines, as the second option, would improve service delivery and, most importantly, provide uninterrupted service to the higher portion of the vulnerable population.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
- Fuel Technology
- Energy Engineering and Power Technology